When I was first invited to do a guest lecture at the University of Queensland Supply Chain Corporate Education Course. I was a bit perplexed. I normally lecture on customer experience, consumer behaviour, importance of WOM, strategic marketing, branding etc. What does all this have to do with supply chain management? In my mind supply chain was a back office operation not front office. I then remembered a story I heard about an international electronics giant whose NPS scores dropped with their older segment simply because they reduced the font size in their manuals. Then another story came to mind where NPS scores dropped because a new style of TV packaging was not up to the mark. In both instances as NPS is a LEAD and not a LAG measure the organisations could quickly take action and rectify the supply chain issues.

Still I approached the prospect of lecturing about customer focus and experience to a group of people that are not traditionally customer facing with trepidation.

Until I had my own supply chain customer experience and realised the HUGE impact it can have. Let’s look at the steps.

  1. Late December 2009 I bought a 27 inch IMac from a reputable department store (not an Apple store). We were told we could expect delivery in 2 weeks.
  2. In the 3rd week we were told there was a delay and it would take another 2 weeks.
  3. 2 weeks passed and we were now told that they could not tell us when we could expect delivery but it could be 4-6 weeks. At this point the Apple shop was promising delivery in 2 weeks.
  4. We rang the Apple shop and they assured us that they could deliver in 2 weeks. We then asked them if they could tell us the status of our order made via the department store. They said sorry, that was another system and they did not have access.
  5. We went back to the department store and quizzed them on why the Apple store can deliver in 2 weeks while they cannot even tell us when they can deliver?
  6. As a result of this whole process we quickly went from being a promoter of Apple to a Detractor and vented by posting another blog about our experience.

Throughout the process the Department store was extremely helpful and we understood they were caught up in a Supply Chain nightmare. Now the Apple iMac has arrived and is beautiful. Recently we also bought an iPad. But for a while there we hated Apple.

It is clear that organisations now compete on the responsiveness, product availability and prowess of their delivery speed. The supply chain has a huge impact on the demand chain.

Now I can present at the Supply Chain course and know personally how critical it is to have a strong customer focus when designing and managing your supply chain. To ignore the impact of the supply chain on the customer can be disastrous and has certainly earned its place in a comprehensive supply management course.

The video is a snap shot of my small contribution to this excellent course.

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How to register

Register online or download the Registration Form from the UQBS Corporate Education website: www.business.uq.edu.au/corporate-education

For further information contact UQBS Corporate Education, telephone – (07) 3346 7111 or email – corped@business.uq.edu.au